THIS is the first glimpse of Swindon’s new £21m technology institute.

Swindon College, New College and the University of Gloucestershire have agreed to collaborate on the multi-million pound bid for the new institute of technology.

New artists' impressions give a flavour of how the new institute might look.

The colleges say the new institute will help tackle a skills shortage in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

Based on North Star Avenue, the proposals are backed by some of Swindon’s biggest employers. They include Nationwide, BMW Group, Excalibur Communications and Recycling Technologies. Between them, the firms will contribute £1m to the project.

Steve Wain, principal of Swindon College, said: “Putting this bid together has been an uplifting experience. It is great to see everyone working so closely together to make this bid as strong as it can be.

“Collaboration is the most efficient and effective way to provide employers and our communities with the high-level skill training they need to secure well-paid sustainable employment in local industry.

“Our employers are committed to meeting their current and future skills needs by employing as many people from the local area as possible and see how the IOT can achieve that.”

Last year, it was announced the Swindon College-led consortium was one of 16 projects shortlisted by government to bid for cash to set up an institute of technology.

If successful, the £21m Swindon scheme will see the conversion of Swindon College’s tower block and technology buildings. The institute of technology, which would be backed by Oxford Brookes University and Cirencester College, will offer high-level technical qualifications in advanced manufacturing and engineering, life sciences, digital sciences and creative media.

Carol Kitching, principal at New College, said: “This truly innovative and collaborative bid will go a very long way towards improving and sustaining STEM skills and knowledge and contributing to the economic growth and success of Swindon’s economy. We are delighted to be a partner in this exciting project.”

Jim Grant, principal of Cirencester College, said he was proud to be involved in the scheme: “This is a great initiative for Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, bringing everyone together to create a new way to address local skills issues and provide innovative routes into higher education for local people.

"We are proud to be involved and would like to thank Steve Wain and his team for the hard work in bringing this bid together.”

The colleges expect to hear by March 2019 whether or not they have awarded the funding.